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The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has mutated more than 6600 times


The Sars-CoV-2 virus that sparked the Covid-19 pandemic has undergone more than 6,600 unique spike protein mutations, said Dr Sebastian Maurer-Stroh, executive director of the Bioinformatics Institute at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star). Viruses mutate whenever there is a 'mistake' in the replication process. This could result from an addition, a deletion or a change to its genetic code. If that mistake increases its survival prospects, more copies of that 'wrong' replication will survive, and sometimes overwhelm the original version. For example, the D614G mutation which started to rise sharply in February last year is now found in all samples of the virus, no matter which variant they are. Because this variant became so pervasive, it was given a clade name - or family group - of its own, and is designated as G clade. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that while the G clade has increased infectivity and transmission, the illness it causes is not more severe, nor does it affect diagnostics, treatment or vaccines.

The Straits Times - May 10, 2021

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